Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to go mushroom hunting in the Portland area. I was able to sign up with a group, through www.meetup.com and lead by an expert in mushrooming. This is not my first trip with this group. In the fall we meet at a Fred Meyers and proceeded to caravan our way over to the Washugal area for chantrelles. This time we were after morels, whose season lasts till early June.
Our group was limited to 15, but more than 60 people were on the waiting list. If you plan to go out on your own, make sure that you are picking a morel mushroom and not a false morel. If you are still queasy about going alone, then you might want to join a mycological society (mushroom group). There is a small fee, and they have outings with experts.
What a great way to spend a weekend. There were many types of mushrooms on our hunt, but it was difficult to know which ones were edible and which ones were poisonous. How would you know a true morel from a false morel when hunting? When you find a morel, cut the morel in half and see if it’s full or hollow. If it’s full then you know it’s a false morel. It is said that species of the morel family hold toxic chemicals in them, called Gyromitrin. Some mushroom hunters say that you can digest a properly cooked false morel, but research says that if you eat false morels that are not treated carefully, that you can have serious side effects. These side effects are diarrhea, severe headaches, vomiting, nausea, extreme dizziness, and even possible death. With that said here is a great recipe for you.
Fried Morel Mushrooms
- 1 lb. Morel Mushrooms
- 2 c. Self-Rising Cornmeal
- 1 c. Self-Rising Flour
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1 c. Vegetable Oil
- 2 c. Water
- Brush and remove dirt etc. from Morel mushrooms.
- Cut Morel Mushrooms in half, lengthwise.
- Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and black pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Pour oil into frying pan, heat on medium high temp until oil begins to bubble.
- Dip Morel mushrooms in water, and toss in cornmeal mixture.
- Drop Morel Mushrooms in hot oil and fry until they’re golden brown in color. ( When frying, flip only once or twice, too much flipping can cause breading to fall off mushrooms.)